The Remarkable guide to mobilising supporters through social media

One of the main challenges of public consultation is making sure that you engage the people who could be your greatest advocates, but might often slip through the net. House hunters, for instance, often do not fall into the demographic of those who traditionally attend public exhibitions.

To engage with this wider and more diverse audience, it’s time for public consultation to modernise and to join new conversations. By incorporating social media into an engagement plan for public consultation, it’s possible to tap into a more varied audience, and therefore more diverse opinions. The result is a much better cross-section of respondents.

Social mediaWhen used correctly, these social media tools become a powerful method of mobilising this audience and converting them into advocates.

Here’s an example: we included social media as part of the engagement strategy for a small development of less than 50 homes for a national housebuilding company.

The results:

  • 10 expressions of interest to buy
  • 33,200 impressions recorded
  • 190 clicks on links in posts
  • more positive responses than from only the offline channels

Engagement came from journalists, local councillors and interest groups as well as those looking to buy on the development.

It shows how the route to the hearts and minds of potential buyers and advocates is through information, and by being seen to listen to comments and providing a platform for these to be expressed. Developers need to be where the conversation is happening.

Social media is the quickest and most direct path to a wide audience. But demonstrating transparency and delivering information in an open and honest fashion is an important part of the consultation process.

Posting information and updates on social media helps to build trust with the local community as a forum. To that extent, it’s not unlike a consultation meeting; it’s just more convenient and accessible, with a better chance of reaching those in favour of proposals.

Social media is about more than just like and shares. It is a powerful tool for speaking to people who might not have been reached before.

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